In The News

Pressure in Europe for access to PrEP

At the 15th European AIDS Conference, speakers voiced concerns from public about the growing need for access to PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) to be used informally. PrEP is a treatment that uses anti-HIV medication to prevent people who are HIV-negative from becoming infected in the near future (up to about 3 weeks after). In Europe currently, like many other countries, PrEP is not funded by government bodies and can only be obtained privately from doctors on an individual basis rather than being a part of the public healthcare system – which means access is limited and more costly.

Many have sought to go around this issue by asking for HIV PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) medication instead with the intention of using them as PrEP. There are national initiatives to push for making PrEP a part of HIV prevention strategies on national levels that is also fully funded, though it is still at an early stage, and moving at a slow pace. Much of the obstacles to making this medication part of the public health system in Europe is due to cost, government red tape as well as the difficulties of implementing something across a continent with varying public health systems.

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Zimbabwean government clamps down on pharmacies

HIV PEP in Zimbabwe is usually only prescribed to medical professionals and workers who have a high risk of occupational exposure and rape victims. This essentially makes access limited to members of the public who engage in risky sexual behaviour. Many, however, are circumventing this problem by obtaining PEP medication from pharmacies that are illegally dispensing such medications without a doctor’s prescription. Pharmacies caught doing so are subject to penalties and sanctions by the Government. HIV PEP is not considered a preferred HIV prevention strategy in Zimbabwe and is strictly dispensed only to rape victims and medical personnel.

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Just as likely to get STD in a monogamous relationship

A recent study published by The Journal of Sexual Medicine revealed that individuals in a monogamous relationship are statistically just as likely to contract sexually transmitted diseases as those who are not. In the study, 556 volunteers were recruited, out of which 351 were in monogamous relationships while the rest were in open relationships. Results concluded that the likelihood of contracting STDs were the same between the 2 groups, mostly due to one or both of the parties secretly cheating, which makes us think – is monogamy just an illusion?

Read full study here: